Saturday, September 29, 2007
Concert Review: Shiny Toy Guns at the Windjammer
I had a religious experience Tuesday night. I entered the venue a casual fan and exited a full-fledged convert to the church of Shiny Toy Guns.
The band was founded in 2002 by Jeremy Dawson (bass and synths) and Chad Petree (vocals/guitar), with Carah Faye (vocals/synths/bass) and Mikey Martin (drums) joining in 2004. The band quickly gained popularity locally and through their MySpace site. In early 2005, they independently released their first album We Are Pilots. They began to tour extensively, and in June 2006 they signed to Universal Records. The re-released a finalized copy of We Are Pilots in late fall 2006. And as their website states, they’ve been “on tour forever”.
Allow me to preface a bit by saying it was Karma that intervened on my behalf and allowed me to even see the show in the first place. Bands that I like don’t exactly play Charleston on a weekly basis. Seldom do they venture closer than Atlanta or Orlando, and if they do it’s usually Charlotte. I had originally wanted to go see Shiny Toy Guns at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, playing with Blue October and Yellowcard last Friday night. However, I work late on Friday nights, and being a responsible adult human with a mortgage and car payment is a bitch. Needless to say, seeing the show was out of the question. By sheer blind luck I caught the tail end of a radio ad for Shiny Toy Guns playing at the Windjammer on Isle of Palms and immediately made a mental note to look it up. Sure enough, it was on Tuesday, my day off, and it was gonna be a FREE show. Whoo hoo! I was to be rewarded for my suffering after all.
Oddly enough, in my seven years of living here in the Lowcountry, I’d never been inside the Windjammer before. Upon entering I was quite surprised at how compact it is, which meant that barring any sudden surge of bodies, we’d be a mere couple feet from the band. BONUS!
After about 60 seconds in the place I took a better look at the guy standing in front of me at the bar & recognized the tattoo on his forearm. Lo & behold, it was none other than Chad. Very cool. He was kind enough to take a picture with me (which I accidentally deleted, like a total dumbass) and we chatted for a couple minutes. He was very personable and genuine, and radiated ZERO pompousness or swelled-head attitude. Here I was just casually chatting with a guy that I listen to on the radio and see on TV, like two regular Joes. Both Jeremy and Mikey were also wandering the venue, checking equiptment and saying hi to people. I didn't see Carah before the show except for the occasional glimpse from the upstairs waiting area, but during the show she interacted with all of us n the front row. I’ve caught more loftiness from certain local minor-league sports figures that I’ve encountered than all four of these genuine rock stars combined. It was damned refreshing.
The show itself was pure energy, despite Chad’s bronchitis and a tour schedule that saw the band go from Myrtle Beach to Seattle to Virginia to Charleston in a span from Friday night to Tuesday. The acoustics at the ‘Jammer made it a little hard at times to pick out all the words, and admittedly I only knew a few of the songs at first, but every song sounded great. Dancefloor anthem “Le Disko”, currently heard in the new Motorola RAZR commercial, was a little less electronic and a little thrashier live, with Carah’s half-growled, half-purred vocals carrying raw power that the crowd fed off of. It’s impossible to stand still at a Shiny Toy Guns show.
A song I’d never heard before, the gorgeous track “Rocketship”, is getting constant play on my MP3 player now, and the show closer was an incredible performance of the current single “You Are The One”, which has been the song on my MySpace page for about the last month or so. But out of a sense of sentimentality, I think the highlight of the set list was a special treat for me, a killer cover of “Stripped”, originally done by my all-time favorite band, Depeche Mode. Shinys, you did the Mode proud. It was amazing.
All too soon it was over, and the band was gracious enough to hang out afterwards to take pictures and sign autographs; again, very cool of them to do so. If not for the hour and a half drive home and having to work the next day, we would have stayed awhile and gotten more pictures. Instead, it was out into the falling drizzle with my faith renewed in the fact that there are still good bands out there left for me to discover, and with the knowledge that with their tour schedule, there’s a good chance that I’ll get to see Shiny Toy Guns again soon.